The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 17, 2012

If bonding request granted, all MSU hockey moves downtown

MANKATO —  

If the city’s request for state bonding money passes, the Minnesota State hockey teams can say goodbye to the yellow tin shed.

The Mavericks men’s and women’s hockey teams would move downtown to the Verizon Wireless Center permanently as part of a $31 million improvement and expansion project shown to Senate Bonding Committee on Tuesday at the university.

“This would give both the men’s and women’s teams the Division I facility that they need,” Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said.

The $5.8 million hockey portion of the project would be used to renovate locker rooms and coaches offices and add off-ice training areas underneath the stands on the west side of the arena for daily use.

When the project is finished, Mavericks teams would report to a facility closer to ones other teams in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association have.

“It gives the sense of a permanent, modern facility to call home,” Minnesota State athletic director Kevin Buisman said. “Student-athlete recruitment is the name of the game, and it’s a little bit of a challenge at All Seasons Arena.”

Currently, the MSU men’s team plays its games at the Verizon but practices at All Seasons Arena, where the women’s team also plays and practices. For each home series, the men pack up their gear and move downtown for three days.

“All Seasons Arena has been a great home to Maverick hockey for years,” MSU men’s coach Troy Jutting said. “But the reality is college hockey has passed it by a little bit, in terms of recruiting and in terms of having a place the kids can call home. Being at the civic center permanently would be a huge benefit.”

The plan also includes a new ice system and dasher boards, upgraded seating and concourse areas, and a new room for the hockey booster club.

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